In vim you can do daw to delete the entire word, but it also removes the space after the word, (caw too).

Is there a way to operate on the entire word without effecting the space around it?

For example

a d c

Performing caw -> b

Gives us:

a bc

Is there a way spaces can be treated as other delimiters, brackets for eg, which would give us:
a b c ?

While this isn't what you would do as a user, it makes writing macros more difficult, since surrounding delimiters aren't as predictable.

Note, this is quite similar to this question, but not identical since the word may be surrounded by tabs or other delimiters. https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1607904/vim-deleting-from-current-position-until-a-space


1 Answer 1


Yes, you can use the iw object. For example, diw or ciw etc. You can read more about the various text objects available to you here.

In this particular case, rather than ciw, you could just use cw, since it happens to be equivalent to ce. This is a special case, since for example dw would delete the extra space. You can read more about this behavior here in the documentation.

  • cw doesn't operate on the whole word. ciw is what I was looking for, thanks!
    – ideasman42
    Aug 27, 2016 at 6:38
  • @ideasman42 Yes it does. Unless you are not at the start of the word.
    – DJMcMayhem
    Aug 27, 2016 at 6:41
  • ... which happens more often? :)
    – VanLaser
    Aug 27, 2016 at 12:38

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